“In the next 6 months, our objective is to reach 40,000 MRR.” Those were the closing words of my last article published last spring.
Six months have now passed and Weglot is reaching €44,000 in monthly recurring revenue, surpassing our expectations!
It’s funny because, on a day-to-day basis, it always feels like our growth is not going fast enough. Like this day or that week could have been better. But looking back on these past 6 months, our progress has been more than real: Everything has more than doubled. Not only the numbers, but also the team, and even the office space!
As Weglot is starting to rise, it’s time to reflect on the challenges we faced these past six months.
Building a talented core team
After our fundraising in April 2017, the first challenge we faced was to recruit for two key positions. At the time, it was still just Augustin and I, working full time. 75% of our time was dedicated to customer support and we were craving for time as we desperately needed to improve the product.
So we decided it was time to recruit a Lead Customer Support to start improving our customer support service and a Lead developer to work on the Weglot platform.
This is when we realized something: Recruiting is hard.
You often hear advice like “You need to recruit the best people” or “Don’t mess your first hires”. But when it’s time to hire, you just don’t know where to start. So after looking on our own, and using several websites, we decided to use professional services to help us. Of course, the cost is higher, but when you are a small start-up, talented people don’t know your company and they won’t take the risk of working for you. They prefer a bigger company. So you have to try something else to get the best people.
We were really thrilled when we finally found Maximilien, now Weglot’s Lead Customer Support and, two weeks later Floran, Weglot’s Lead Developer. And just like that, we were four! We then realized that our office space of 25m2 was becoming really small and that the warm days of summer were coming. So, in July, after 1 month of office visits, we moved into a bigger office in Paris.
We were all set up now and with Floran and Maximilien, we finally had time to do two things: redesign Weglot’s platform and scale up our customer support service.
Redesigning the platform
Since the early beginning (end of 2015), I had developed the translation API, the Weglot platform and the WordPress plugin on my own. I had stacked up a huge quantity of code in a way that would not be easy to work with other developers. The goal was to release our product quickly, not to be perfectly organized. I knew that, some day, the platform would need to be redesigned from scratch to be able to scale easily. Otherwise, the risk is to get stuck by clumsy tech.
That day came in May, when Floran joined the team. With great organizational skills and a strong background in Symfony 3, he started to redesign the platform. In less than 3 months, he developed a new version of Weglot from scratch with a new and more robust architecture. The new platform was released in September and, with a clean architecture, new features are now being added every two weeks.
Redesigning the platform was a tough decision because we knew that choosing to rebuild Weglot from scratch instead of adding new features would “freeze” the product for some time. But, looking back, it was a good choice as we now have strong foundations and processes to deliver quality code. Building on top of a not-so-clean code is risky. When in doubt about your code robustness, redesign.
Scaling up our customer support service
Customer support has always played an important role in our team. From the beginning, we pledged to support every user: free and premium users alike, and we want to continue this way. As the number of tickets we received rose daily, we had to scale things so that it could still be managed.
First, with Maximilien in the team to manage customer support, we moved from a fully email-based system to a real ticketing platform, Helpscout. With this tool, we can easily manage and split customer requests between the team.
Then we created a full support platform with several articles covering most of the questions we were being asked daily. Maximilien and Benoît, an intern at Weglot, did an awesome work releasing several new articles every week. This platform reduced our tickets per user ratio.
I strongly believe that customer support is key when you develop a product as it is your strongest link with your users. It’s an almost unlimited source of feedback and the best way to know if your product matches users’ expectations.
What should you expect in the next 6 months?
Our top priority is to keep hiring talented people. We are looking for several positions, like a full-stack developer to build and manage several code libraries for Weglot and a customer support hero to help and empower Weglot’s users. If you want to work in a fast-evolving start-up and you like challenges, just send me an email 🙂 More information here : https://weglot.com/jobs
We will also keep improving our WordPress plugin. We are already one of the most & best-rated multilingual plugins on the WordPress directory. In the next 6 months, we aim to become the first.
Outside of WordPress, we will keep actively developing the Shopify App and we will prepare some new integrations with other CMS!
In terms of monthly recurring revenue, we aim to reach €70,000 in 6 months.